Haileybury and Imperial Service College

Haileybury is an independent school near Hertford in England. Originally a major boys' public school, it is now co-educational, enrolling pupils at 11+, 13+ and 16+ stages of education. Over 880 pupils attend Haileybury, of whom more than 550 board.

Haileybury and Imperial Service College
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SG13 7NU

Coordinates51.7787°N 0.033333°W / 51.7787; -0.033333
TypeIndependent school
Boarding and day school
MottoesFear God, Honour The King
Sursum Corda (Lift up your Hearts)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1862 (Haileybury College. Predecessor colleges were founded as follows:
East India Company College - 1806;
Imperial Service College - 1845;
United Services College - 1874
FounderEast India Company
Department for Education URN117607 Tables
Chairman of CouncilA. Pilgrim
MasterMartin Collier
Age11 to 18
Enrolment880 pupils (approx.)
PublicationThe Haileyburian, Hearts & Wings
Former pupilsOld Haileyburians


The previous institution at Haileybury was the East India College (EIC), the training establishment founded in 1806 for administrators of the Honourable East India Company. The EIC was initially based in Hertford Castle, but substantial grounds on Hertford Heath were acquired for future development. William Wilkins, the architect of Downing College, Cambridge, and the National Gallery in London, was appointed principal architect. The buildings comprise four ranges which enclose an area known as Quad, the second largest academic quadrangle in Britain after Christchurch College, Oxford.[1] In the wake of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the East India Company was nationalised, and its College closed in January 1858. In 1862, a public school opened on the site that retained many connections with the EIC. Many of the houses were named after Old Boys or Principals of the EIC, and Haileybury's primary purpose during the second half of the 19th century was to provide soldiers and administrators for the British Empire, in particular British India.

The Chapel dome was added by Arthur Blomfield and completed in 1877. Further Victorian additions were designed by John William Simpson. The Memorial Dining Hall was opened by the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and acts as a monument to former pupils who gave their lives in the First World War. During the past 40 years, its use has been extended to commemorate deaths of OHs in all military conflicts.

The dining hall contains one of the largest unsupported domes in Europe. Until the 1990s, the entire school of over 700 pupils dined there at a single sitting, all brought to silence for grace by the beating of a massive brass howitzer shell, captured from a German gun emplacement during the First World War and then converted into a gong. A gilded plaster boss in the centre of this dome represents an oak tree being struck by lightning. Known as Little Lightning Oak this decoration represents the massive oak tree that stands on the lawn in front of Terrace, the promenade visible in this photograph. This tree was struck by lightning and all but destroyed but re-sprouted.

As well as the wooden tablets surrounding the exterior of the dining hall, there are other memorials to the school's 1,436 war casualties. The memorial on Terrace, originally built to commemorate those lost in the First World War, was unveiled by General Sir Alexander Godley, KCB, KCMG on 7 July 1923. It was designed by former pupil Sir Reginald Blomfield. Known as the Cross of Sacrifice this simple stone structure serves as a prototype for war memorials found in every Commonwealth War Cemetery and other war memorials around the world.

Seventeen former pupils of Haileybury and its antecedents have received the Victoria Cross, and three the George Cross.

In 1942, Haileybury and the Imperial Service College (which had itself subsumed the United Services College) merged to become Haileybury and Imperial Service College, now known as Haileybury.[2]

In the late 20th century, reforming headmaster David Jewell took charge of Haileybury, bringing it out of its post-cold-war austerity. Stuart Westley, Master of Haileybury until July 2009, was responsible for making the school fully co-educational.[3]

Present day

Haileybury serves as a co-educational school for 11- to 18-year-olds. Girls' houses comprise Colvin, Melvill, Allenby, Alban's and Hailey. The seven boys' houses consist of Edmonstone, Lawrence, Bartle Frere, Kipling, Batten, Thomason and Trevelyan. There is also a boarding house for the Lower School (Years 7 and 8) called Highfield. The Ayckbourn Theatre functions as a modern auditorium with a fully equipped stage and back-stage. In 1997 the college chapel organ was re-built by Klais.


Haileybury is traditionally strong in rugby union and cricket and retains honours boards with every rugby and cricket first team since 1863. Sports for girls include hockey, netball, lacrosse, tennis and cricket, with newly developed teams in football and rugby union. In addition to rugby and cricket, boys play hockey, football and tennis. Boys and girls represent the school in athletics, squash, swimming, rackets, cross country, badminton, biathlon, basketball, rowing and sailing.

Haileybury Almaty

In 2006/2007, Haileybury advised on the building of a Haileybury in Almaty, Kazakhstan where all English GCSEs are taught and the curriculum is taught similarly under the guidance of Haileybury. The school, opened in September 2008, is known as Haileybury Almaty.

The pupils are made up mostly of Kazakhstan citizens. They are all required to speak English. Academic year 2010–11 saw the first batch of pupils pass their IGCSE exams. Since August 2011 Haileybury Almaty has opened a 6th form. In 2016, 11 pupils graduated from the 6th form with one getting admission in Trinity College, Cambridge University and 6 securing positions in University College, London (UCL). A second school, in the Kazakhstan capital Astana, was opened in September 2011.[4]

Haileybury Astana

Following the foundation of Haileybury Almaty, a sister school was opened in 2008 in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. Haileybury Astana provides education for boys and girls from the two to eighteen years of age under the leadership of Jonathan Ullmer MBE. It is an IB World School and also operates the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

The School has grown rapidly since it was opened by the President of Kazakhstan. In 2017 the new IB Centre was opened by the Minister of Education. By 2018 the school had close to 650 pupils.

Haileybury Turnford

In September 2015 Turnford School in Turnford, Hertfordshire converted to academy status and was renamed Haileybury Turnford. Haileybury College acts as the main sponsor of the school, and this is the first state-funded school to have links with Haileybury.

Model United Nations

Model United Nations (MUN) is a popular extra-curricular activity pupils in the senior school. Throughout the year, groups of pupils are chosen to form delegations which meet two times per week outside of school hours to practise writing and debating resolutions. These pupils then travel to several MUN conferences in the UK and mainland Europe to debate their resolutions.

Haileybury hosts their own Model United Nations Conferences conference every year (HMUN)[5] for nearly 900 pupils, making it largest MUN conference in the UK.[6] The conference is typically held the weekend before the Easter holiday.

Notable former pupils

Past pupils are known as Old Haileyburians.

For details of notable alumni see Notable people educated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College.

See also


  1. "Country Life, Volume 203". 2009: 28. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. "The story of Haileybury". Haileybury.
  3. The Times, Obituaries, July 2006
  4. "UK public school for Kazakhstan". BBC. 25 January 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  5. "Haileybury MUN". www.haileyburymun.co.uk.
  6. "UK's largest Model United Nations conference to be held at Haileybury". 14 March 2012.
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